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Dating vintage sewing patterns

So, for what started out in my mind as just another frilly dress, I found myself smitten with each step of the construction process. New to the Library is this darling Butterick sewing pattern #2996.Listed as a 1920’s frock, it was actually advertised in Delineator Magazine, January 1930 dating it as a late 1929/early 1930 design.

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These years were generally about clean lines and not too much fuss, unlike the bowties, peplums, and rows of buttons that you see in patterns of the 40’s. It can be heartbreaking when you fall for a pattern that’s several sizes too small or big for you . Vintage books are helpful because they describe techniques in the same jargon that you’ll see in your vintage patterns.Our modern sewing machines tend to come with every gadget imaginable, but not so in 1929.So, after researching my ‘The New Dressmaker’, published by the Butterick Publishing Company, 1921, they recommended the following: “Machine hemstitching is used on blouses, dresses, lingerie, etc., to put together seams, finish hems neat, durable and gives a garment a dainty, finished look.There are darts at the bust, front waistline, and along the back, as well as at the shoulders of the cape, giving this pullover dress it’s subtle shaping.And if you omit the cape, it makes a fabulous dress on it’s own.If you wear a hard to find size, these can be a goldmine. And last but not least: when you’ve selected the perfect pattern, spend plenty of time getting the fit right. Check back next week for a post on the most common alterations needed for vintage patterns. Also, what are your tips for locating great vintage patterns?

Also, check out the company Decades of Style which reproduces vintage patterns in a wide variety of sizes. In the meantime, you might want to check out a book on pattern alterations to get your skills up to the task.

Through writing my blog, I’ve realized just how intimidating the world of vintage patterns can be. I order the majority of my vintage patterns from e Bay and Etsy.

The prices vary wildly, the sizing is different from contemporary patterns, and the styles can be very intricate and complex. Pay attention to which sellers you think offer fair prices and have a good selection.

The directions (or New Deltor as they were referred to), call for hemstitch detailing for the seams which would showcase the dainty geometric design.

But then I wondered how this would have been done in the 1920’s?

One of my favorites is a 1960’s edition of the Vogue Sewing Book and I also love Constance Talbot’s Complete Book of Sewing from the late 1940’s.